Sir Steven Redgrave is our greatest Olympic hero and I am amazed to see him sharing his glory with Walkers crisps in their latest promotional blitz.

After years of living on a shoestring, athletes deserve to cash in.

But as the most bankable of them all, why not choose a healthier product?

The mantra "thou shalt eat crisps" is reinforced by constant repetition in the media and most kids prefer them to an apple in their lunchbox.

In Britain more than most countries, junky snack foods are used as a convenient filler, preventing people from exploring healthier options.

Crisps may be very tasty but nutritious they are not however much publicity you give them.

Steven Redgrave tells us that his family is excited about all the free crisps they'll be getting.

Let's have a look at the ingredients in Walkers' new tomato ketchup-flavoured variety to see what they can look forward to:

Apart from sliced potatoes fried in refined palm oil, they contain flavouring, monosodium glutamate, lactose and a large amount of salt.

Although potatoes are a useful staple food containing vitamin C and potassium, most of the nutrients and fibre lie in the skin, which has long been discarded.

Sliced spuds also absorb a significant amount of saturated fat due to their large surface area bad news for couch potatoes.

Monosodium glutamate, a relative of salt, has no nutritional value.

It is used as a flavour enhancer to stimulate taste buds and has been known to trigger health problems, ranging from headaches and asthma-type symptoms to depression and mood swings.

However, research funded by the food industry has so far established the safety of MSG.

I spoke to Walkers Crisps and asked for information regarding the mysterious term "flavouring".

Unfortunately, they were "unable" to provide it. I persisted, explaining that my children are food - sensitive, but got nowhere.

Most processed foods contain natural or synthetic flavourings that can hide a multitude of sins.

Many companies, like Walkers, refuse to disclose them, which makes it impossible to identify specific reactions.

Several flavourings have been associated with hypersensitivity and behavioural problems one wonders if the heady mix of toxins from food , water and air is contributing to the rising number of children being excluded from primary schools.

Walkers know full well they are doing children's health no favours.

So, in an attempt to distract from the nutritional quality of their products, they offer equipment to schools in exchange for crisp packet vouchers.

This effectively puts teachers in the position of having to thank pupils for eating junk.

Instead of encouraging our children to become a dumping ground for synthetic chemicals, snack food manufacturers might consider a quote from late US president John F Kennedy:

"Children are the world's most valuable resource and its best hope for the future."